Billy Bolt laid down the Endurocross hot lap to take pole position over Jonny Walker and Taddy Blazusiak at the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship opener in Portugal.
After 48 hours of uncertainty, racing finally got underway at Extreme XL Lagares with Saturday’s Endurocross qualification.
Competitors faced a short but decisive two-lap qualification session around the hectic Endurocross course to qualify for Sunday’s feature races. Under the revised schedule, implemented due to new Covid regulations, competitors will contest three 20-minute Endurocross heats on Sunday to determine the overall winner of this year’s event.
Quick to make his mark, it was Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Billy Bolt who rocketed his way to the top of the time sheets, with a flyer on lap two. But it was by an exceptionally fine margin, with Vision Track Beta’s Jonny Walker a proverbial whisker behind in second.
Three seconds down on the duo, GASGAS Factory Racing’s Taddy Blazusiak edged out Alfredo Gomez (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing) for third, while Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Manuel Lettenbichler completed the top five.
David Leonov (VL65 Racing Team) slotted into sixth, confirming the Russian will be a rider to watch for tomorrow. There was delight for local hero Diogo Vieira (Raposeira Bubbles Racing Team) when he comfortably made the top-20 cut with seventh.
Billy Bolt: “I’m pretty happy with today’s result. It’s nice to be leading. Of course the format has drastically changed for tomorrow and we won’t be riding in the mountains like we hoped, but the important thing is that we’re racing. Although today was fairly short and sweet, anytime you do get on track, you want to be the fastest guy there, so I’ll take this result as a good confidence boost and motivator heading into tomorrow’s racing.”
Results – Extreme XL Lagares Endurocross qualification
1. Billy Bolt (Husqvarna) 1:24.734;
2. Jonny Walker (Beta) 1:24.762l
3. Taddy Blazusiak (GASGAS) 1:27.791;
4. Alfredo Gomez (Husqvarna) 1:27.966;
5. Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM) 1:28.732;
6. David Leonov (Husqvarna) 1:29.071;
7. Diogo Vieira (GASGAS) 1:29.267;
8. Kevin Gallas (GASGAS) 1:29.761;
9. Dominik Olszowy (KTM) 1:30.062;
10. Wade Young (Sherco) 1:30.349…